A poll released this month found the highest ever rate of American support for Taiwan.
The poll, conducted by the Chicago Council for Global Affairs, found that 69 percent of Americans support Taiwanese independence, 53 percent support a formal U.S.-Taiwan alliance, and 52 percent support the deployment of U.S. troops in response to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, the highest number since the poll started asking that question in 1982.
"The American public supports a range of US policies in support of Taiwan," the Chicago Council wrote in a statement. "While a significant portion of Americans appear unfamiliar with Taiwan, a majority of Americans seem prepared to recognize independence for Taiwan should the US government change its existing policy toward Taipei. … Moreover, support has increased considerably for defending Taiwan in case of attack, which may itself bolster US credibility in a crisis scenario."
Mounting support for Taiwan comes as China intensifies its campaign to take control of it. Beijing's military officials have conducted a massive buildup of missile, warship, air, space, and cyber capabilities they plan to use in an invasion of Taiwan. Chinese president Xi Jinping says he aims to seize Taiwan by 2049.
An invasion may come much sooner. Chinese military brass have this month dispatched large groups of soldiers to the South China Sea for war drills intended to threaten Taiwan. Incursions into Taiwanese airspace have peaked this year. Former U.S. Indo-Pacific commander Philip S. Davidson told lawmakers in March that China will likely launch an invasion within the next six years.
The U.S. military, however, may be unable to successfully defend Taiwan. Simulations run by the Pentagon in July showed that American attempts to shield Taiwan from Chinese attacks would fail "miserably." And the Biden administration has cut funds that would have gone to warships, missiles, and other weapons, which experts say could prove crucial in the fight against Chinese aggression.